Shocking Dental Stats and How to Avoid Becoming One

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Shocked Bedford dentist with cavity

In a perfect world, our Bedford dental practice wouldn’t have a lot to do. Our typical patients would take excellent care of their teeth, floss every day, and eat healthy. But what exactly is “typical,” and how close is that to what’s ideal?

Hold onto your hats, because these dental stats just might blow you away—and have you reaching for your toothbrush.

Surprising Statistics About Oral Hygiene

General Information

One-third of adults never floss their teeth. Despite absurd media stories that popped up a while ago, flossing is a very important part of oral hygiene. The only evidence you need is to floss and see what turns up. As the saying goes, only floss the teeth you want to keep!

About half of Americans don’t brush their teeth at least twice per day. Around 25 percent are diligent enough to brush after every meal, while 10 percent of people often forget to brush their teeth every day. Oral health begins with clean teeth and gums!

92 percent of adults will have at least one cavity during their lives. About one-quarter of adults have an untreated cavity right now. Tooth decay is one of the most common medical issues people face, affecting nearly everyone in the population at some point.

Almost half of adults over 30 have some level of untreated periodontal disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and will affect two-thirds of the population. Brushing and flossing as recommended can prevent it, as well as making regular visits to the dentist.

Do you have gum disease? Learn more, here!

One-fifth of Americans have not seen a dentist in several years or more. While about half of us are keeping up with regular dental visits, the other half isn’t seeing the dentist regularly enough to stay on top of their oral health.

Men Versus Women

Men see the dentist less often than women. Men are significantly less likely to go for regular checkups and cleanings, often only visiting the dentist after a problem arises. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Women brush their teeth more than men do. While 29 percent of women brush their teeth after every meal, only 20 percent of men do so. And even though 57 percent of women brush their teeth at least twice per day, only 49 percent of men manage to do the same.

Men are less likely to floss than women. Among men, 39 percent report that they never floss, compared to 27 percent of women.

Men are more likely to develop gum disease than women. About one-fifth of women ages 30–54 have some level of gum disease, whereas one-third of men in the same age group have it. While rates go up significantly for seniors overall, men are still overrepresented in older age groups.


42 percent of children aged 2–11 years have had cavities in their primary teeth. For several decades, dental caries was on the decline in this group. This trend has reversed with the torrent of sugary snacks and drinks available, meaning that children entering kindergarten frequently already have tooth decay present in their primary teeth.

One in five children aged 5–11 years have at least one untreated, decayed tooth. In addition to encouraging brushing and flossing, parents should consider sealants for their children’s permanent molars, reducing the risk of cavities by 80 percent.

Approximately one-quarter of children under the age of five already have cavities. By their first birthday or when their first tooth appears, it’s time for an infant to have their first dentist appointment. Supervise young children to reinforce dental hygiene technique, and consider electric toothbrushes that can dramatically improve the efficiency and duration of brushing.

Over 86 percent of children will have tooth decay in at least one tooth by age 17. Diet is a major contributor to tooth decay in older children and adolescents. The biggest culprits are energy and sports drinks, which have significant amounts of sugar. Drink water!

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late—Visit Your Bedford Dentist Right Away

The two most important things a person can do to protect and invest in their oral health are maintaining great oral hygiene and making regular visits to the dentist. Hopefully, this information has helped you realize the importance of a disciplined oral hygiene routine.

In addition to your daily duties, professional cleanings allow for early intervention—the sooner a problem is treated, the simpler that treatment will be. Rather than kicking the can down the road, schedule an appointment for a checkup or cleaning in our Bedford dental practice today.

~Dr. Marea White